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Students present issues in front of Board of Trustees

Waverly Hart
Managing Editor

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Board of Trustees held their biannual Student Development Meeting in which student representatives from 14 different campus groups presented updates and concerns to Board members.
“Our goal is to gain context about the College and to understand student perspective,” said Jamie Christensen, a trustee, at the beginning of the meeting. “The students are the most important stakeholders in the College. We report back to the Board to discuss what students are saying about what they want from us.”
The first three groups to speak all centered their demands around the College’s inadequate cultural competency training.
D’Khorvillyn Tyus ’19, who spoke on behalf of the Black Student Association, stated that the onus of the training was put on the students, but it should be the administration’s responsibility to ensure efficient cultural competency training.
Sam Corrigan ’20, secretary of Queer Student Union, and Cesar Lopez ’21, co-president of Queer People of Color, presented as a collaborative front and echoed Tyus’ statement regarding the ineffectiveness of the training.
“The Queer Student Union and Queer People of Color choose to present at the Board of Trustees meeting to bring to attention and address the fact that queer students on this campus do not feel welcomed or comfortable on campus,” Corrigan said. “There is a lack of recognition that queer issues on campus are not isolated issues, but are also a part of the college transition and overall experience for queer individuals, that require support and resources.”
Their second demand called for a centralized and effective system to be put in place that allows for name changes to occur in a more timely manner, preferably five to seven days.
Gargi Mishra ’20 spoke for the International Student Association. Mishra articulated that she would like to see a growth in staff and resources of the International Student Services office. Mishra also raised the issue that students who lead International Student Orientation do not get paid.
The representative from WOO91, Sam Royer ’19, was next to speak. Royer asked the Board to put the sale of the radio station’s FM license on hold indefinitely, in hopes of using this time to work with the Ohio Association of Broadcasting on making WOO91 FCC compliant.
“The WOO91 team felt it was necessary to speak directly with the Board of Trustees mainly because we were not formerly included in any conversations regarding their decision or the state of our station,” Royer said after the meeting. “I believe the kind of communication the administration has had with the students in this process is something of which this institution should be ashamed. Not informing the students who run a radio station about jobs they should be doing or problems they are having, or including them in any conversation until a month before the decision to take them off the air is made, is absurd and disgraceful. This kind of communication sends a message to students that administration doesn’t value or respect students or their work.”
Despite the Board telling Royer that they wouldn’t be discussing their decision on the station in their next meeting, Royer remains optimistic. “I was grateful for [the Board’s] willingness to work with the administration on a timeline for the period of time before the station is taken off of the air. I was able to speak with members of the Board after the meeting about my concerns about the lack of transparency in the communication between administration and students,” he stated.
After giving several updates, Myra Praml ’19, co-president of the Sexual Respect Coalition, asked for the Trustees’ support in making sure that classrooms are as safe as they can be, which would mean warning students about potentially disturbing or emotionally triggering discussions, videos and readings in a class syllabus.
Other speakers included Kennedy McKain ’19 from The Goliard, Emily Stoehr ’20 from the Wooster Activities Crew, Robyn Newcomb ’20 from the Living Wage Campaign, Annelisea Brand ’21 and Margie Sosa ’20 from the First Generation Student Organization, Anna Schroeder ’21 from Greenhouse and Annabelle Hopkins ’19 from the Swimming and Diving team. Representatives from Campus Council and Student Government Association also gave general updates to the Board.
Although some students believe the meeting to be discouraging, they recognize its importance in building a dialogue between the campus and the Board.
“Yeah, the meeting can be frustrating. It even feels a little bit pointless, sometimes,” Praml said after the meeting. “Students don’t hear back from the Trustees, and the Trustees mainly have the power of influence. They work behind the scenes, so it is up to the student body to be up-front about the things that we want. The Student Development meeting provides us with a platform to do that because it brings both Trustees and student leaders together.”
Others were in awe of the dedication and intensity the student representatives bring to the table.
“The meeting went extremely well, with students bringing light to matters close to their organizations through their speeches fueled with immense passion,” Mishra said. “All the Trustees were extremely receptive of matters presented by all organizations, and showed interest by asking questions.”
Charles Ryan, a Board member, was also impressed with the student presentations, stating at the end of the meeting, “This has been one of the best committee meetings we have had in many years. Your passion and articulation is exceptional.”

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